University Challenge contestant wanted to lose his virginity, York rape trial hears

Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere leaves York Crown Court
Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere leaves York Crown Court

A UNIVERSITY Challenge contestant alleged to have raped a student had “wanted to have sex to lose his virginity” before the end of term, a court heard.

York University student Bartolomeo Joly de Lotbiniere, 21, who became famous on TV thanks to his triple-barrelled surname, is alleged to have “forced” himself onto a 19-year-old fellow student and attempted to have sex with her.

But Joly de Lotbiniere told a jury on Wednesday that he was not sexually aroused enough to “perform properly” and had left his alleged victim “disappointed”.

York Crown Court heard that the 4’10” victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told her now-partner that 6’3” Joly de Lotbiniere had wanted to have sex with her to lose his virginity before the end of his first term at York.

But the defendant, referred to in court by his nickname of ‘Barto’, told police in an interview that he had had sex once before the alleged rape.

Prosecutor Gerald Hendron and Detective Constable Adam Saggers read aloud a transcript from Joly de Lotbiniere’s police interview, in which Joly de Lotbiniere told cops the incident was “a failed one-night stand” and the claimant was left “disappointed”.

The court heard that Joly de Lotbiniere told officers: “My penis was not working properly - and she was disappointed. She was disappointed I didn’t perform well - it was a failed one night stand.”

He said during the police interview that there was “no attraction” between the pair and said he was “not physically rejected” by the claimant at any point.

Constable Saggers added that when cautioned a second time for the offences, the defendant had said:: “I am willing to co-operate with anyone - this is wrong. These are horrible, horrible lies.”

Taking to the witness stand as his defence team began its evidence, Joly de Lotbiniere answered questions about a text message sent from him to the victim, in which he said he had ‘acted like a 14-year-old.

He told the jury: “The 14-year-old bit was all talk and no actual thing. On the one hand I was being the big guy and acted like I could perform - but in reality I can’t.”

Asked about the incident, he added: “We fumbled around for a bit, but it came to nothing - she said (to me) ‘you are not very good at this’.”

Asked by defence barrister Judy Khan, QC, if he had known about the accusations of sexual assault before his arrest, Joly de Lotbiniere replied: “No, absolutely not.”

Joly de Lotbiniere told the jury that he had applied to be on York’s University Challenge team but was unsuccessful in his first year and became the team’s reserve contestant.

In his second year, he appeared in eight episodes on the BBC2 programme, with the first airing in August 2015.

The court heard that Richard Osman, co-host of the TV show Pointless, had given Joly de Lotbiniere immediate fame by tweeting: “8/10 for Cats (another contestant), 10/10 for Joly de Lotbiniere”.

The court heard earlier that it was after Joly de Lotbiniere became an internet sensation that the alleged victim became angry at the tweet, and went to the police weeks later.

The court also heard Joly de Lotbiniere, a former A* student, is now studying a Masters degree at the University College London.

Joly de Lotbiniere formerly of York, now of Kensal Rise, Brent, North London, denies two sex offences, including sexual assault by digital penetration and rape.

The trial continues.